Disney Park Passes Continue Causing Confusion, Guests Call For “Fail Stop”

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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When Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort reopened following their respective pandemic-related closures, both had Park Pass systems in place.

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

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This meant that in order to enter any Disney World Park — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom — or any Disneyland Park — Disneyland itself or Disney California Adventure — Guests had to possess both a valid ticket and a reservation to their theme park of choice.

At first, Park Hopping was not available, but can now be done after 2 p.m. local time.

Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts' Nite
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The Park Pass system has been continually extended on both coasts and is seemingly a permanent fixture, as Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has asserted that the company’s theme parks will never return to pre-pandemic capacity levels, despite the fact that crowds seem to be surging on both coasts.

Some Disney Park Guests, however, are still confused by the Park Pass process, although Disney does send out numerous email reminders regarding Park reservations prior to any vacation.

california adventure food and wine 2022
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Reddit users have recently been discussing the issue, with u/buccobruce3 starting things off with the following post:

During my past visit to Disney World I found myself wondering how many people show up to the front gate of parks without a PPR even with the reminders on the app, the road signs on the drive in, and the parking toll booth attendant asking.

Despite the constant reminders, with the number of people coming everyday it is inevitable there will be groups that just show up expecting it will all work out or they are just really out of the loop. It must be tough working in guest relations and turning these people away. Does anyone have any experience with this or have any idea how often it happens?

walt disney world railroad
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u/BZI shared some thoughts about the fact that Disney trips are so pricey that some don’t understand their “reservation” isn’t included with the sheer admission price:

Happens a lot [people not having Park Passes]. The problem is partly the fact that the term “park pass reservation” is so vague that I think people interpret it as having admission.

It’s not like they’re normal things at any other theme park, so I actually tend to side with the guest going on a once in a lifetime trip.

Cast Member Mask
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u/ziriuso chimed in with a story about some Guests who were so confused — or so determined to scam the system — that they tried to visit Walt Disney World Resort with Universal Studios Orlando tickets:

I was at Magic Kingdom last fall and was behind a group that had no park reservations and were trying to enter the parks with Universal Tickets. I truly do not understand how that happened but they demanded to talk to a manager. I ended up going through a different line so not sure how that played out but was astounded.

Sleeping Beauty Castle
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Finally, u/haythatgirl summed up many fans’ thoughts, noting that she doesn’t understand why there is no “fail stop” or “fail safe” system in place for Disney vacationers:

With all the confusion I can’t understand why Disney doesn’t have a fail stop. You shouldn’t be able to check out without making your reservations. I understand they warn you and it’s enough for most to figure out but obviously some people are missing it and paying for once in a lifetime vacations just to be told they didn’t take an extra step and they can’t get in.

It’s really messed up in my opinion. I need to know everything about everything when I travel but I have family that book vacation packages and don’t give it a second thought until it’s time to pack. In the past if you did some or a ton of research before your trip you had a better experience but you could still just show up and have a good vacation. Now you can potentially pay for hotel and tickets get down there and get turned away.

splash mountain interior tokyo disneyland
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Visit the Walt Disney World Park Pass availability calendar or the Disneyland Resort reservation availability calendar for details about booking your next trip.

What do you think about Park Passes? Should they stay or should they go? 

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

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